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Army sexual conduct case tainted, charge lawyers: dismissal sought

Defense attorneys in a sexual misconduct case involving a senior Army officer say that their client is not getting a fair shake, and they point to a number of recent development to buttress their contentions.

The case is probably familiar to many of our readers around the country, given the high-profile treatment it has been accorded by the national press. Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair is currently the central figure in a court-martial proceeding in which he has been accused of forced sex and related threats by a woman with whom he had a previous relationship. Sinclair acknowledges the relationship with the woman, who is an Army captain (hereafter the “witness”), but has maintained that it was consensual.

What bothers Sinclair’s lawyers is the military’s seeming insistence on proceeding with the case without considering the reduction of any charges, despite what they maintain is clear and compelling evidence that points to weakness in the government’s case. Sinclair’s defense team states that senior military officials have exerted “unlawful command influence” in the matter, and they are seeking a motion to compel testimony from a number of persons with knowledge of the case.

One of those is the former prosecutor, Lt. Col. William Helixon, who recently and quite summarily dropped out of the case. Sinclair’s attorneys say that Helixon informed them of his view that the witness was lying about material matters. They also recount a conversation they had with Helixon during which he allegedly stated that a senior Army attorney familiar with the case also disbelieved the witness. Sinclair’s legal team says that Helixon told them the Army was “forcing the case to move forward.”

The motion to compel seeks to compel testimony from Helixon, several Army generals and military lawyers involved with the case.

Source: New York Times, "Army general's lawyers seek dismissal of sexual misconduct charges," Richard A. Oppel Jr., Feb. 21, 2014

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